A nice complement to Nomad

Assuming Nomad works on a Mac one day, this patent suggests that Apple could be cooking up a nice complement to Notes on a USB key:

PC-Pro: Apple patent hints at new OS X 10.5 feature.

Essentially, it looks like Apple have filed a patent for easily moving entire user directories on to USB keys—application preferences, documents, the lot. Cool!


  1. Do you really think that should be patentable? It sounds fairly obvious to move directories onto a drive meant for directories.Ben Langhinrichs#
  2. I think the point is the “enabler”. In OS X out of the box, you can’t have your “proper” UNIX home directory on an external device, booting into it as normal. At least, I don’t think you can (I’m sure some cracker out there could prove me wrong on that).

    The patent certainly suggests more than an approach to where you save some files anyway. We shall have to wait and see I guess!Ben Poole#
  3. Well, this used to work on my Linux Mandrake Move live CD some 3 years ago. You booted from CD and if there was USB key attached, it was able to save all your prefs and data onto it.
    But wait - this got even farther than the Apple patent! You could carry both your system and data with you around.Josef Prusa#
  4. Even earlier prior art. Seventeen years ago the original NeXT cube had a magneto optical (MO) drive with 256 MB of removable storage -- which seems like a *lot* of space back then. The primary market for NeXT was education so the idea was that you would store your "entire life" on this cartridge and be able to walk up to any available machine and login. Your home dir was on the drive. Of course, NeXT may have gotten a patent on that, in which case Apple would own it anyway.

    I wouldn't get too worked up about this patent. Remembering some of the patents we filed at my previous employer, you try to make them as broadly applicable as possible but include something novel. On the surface, this one seems pretty obvious but there's likely to be some specific twist that makes it patentable. It used to be just IBM but now everyone, including Apple, seems to be getting on the "patent everything that moves before we ship" bandwagon. Bob Congdon#

Comments on this post are now closed.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.